Himansu Shekhar Rout

Even as the three major parties in Odisha are yet to announce all candidates, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has rewarded some political turncoats by offering them tickets on Tuesday.  

As per reports, a number of leaders from the BJD and Congress crossed over to the BJP and were handed an opportunity to play to the gallery.

Two-time BJD MP from Berhampur and Ollywood actor, Sidhant Mohapatra after joining the BJP was fielded as the party’s MLA nominee from the Digapahandi Assembly seat while two-time BJD MLA of Khallikote, Purnachandra Sethi has been given a chance to contest from the same seat on a BJP ticket. 

Speaking to OTV, BJP leader Sidhant Mohapatra said, "It is a matter of Odia Asmita and Swabhiman. We will fight together for the swabhiman of Ganjam. The way the BJD is functioning now has become a question. People will give their reply in the upcoming elections”

Moreover, BJD MLA from the Jayadev Assembly seat, Arabinda Dhali recently crossed over to the BJP and the party has allowed him to fight polls in the same seat.

BJP leader Arabinda Dhali said, "All people of my constituency love me and deem me as one of their family members. My doors were open for them. But after I was elected MLA, a powerful coterie created a parallel group against me. They continued to oppose my work over the last five years.  My supporters advised me to join the BJP so that I would be elected. The BJD will not allow you to work here.”

Two days ago, former BJD MLA of Korei, Akash Das Nayak joined the BJP, accusing the ruling party of neglecting him. He has been nominated by the BJP to contest from the same seat this time.

Former BJD MLA of Bhubaneswar North Assembly seat Priyadarshi Mishra recently joined the BJP and was given a ticket for the same seat while former BJD MLA Raju Das who had earlier played a crucial role (as an Independent) in the victory of BJP MLA Suryavanshi Suraj in the by-poll to the Dhamnagar Assembly constituency, has been fielded as the saffron party candidate in the Soro Assembly seat.

Similarly, former Congress MLA Nihar Mahananda after crossing over to the BJP was given a party ticket for the Attabira Assembly seat.

BJP leader Purnachandra Sethi said, "I had a lead of 44,000 votes while the winning margin was nearly 58,000 in the 2014 election. Do you think I have no support base? The fight will be tough.”

BJP leader Priyadarshi Mishra said, "If the BJP forms government in Odisha, we will make our state a developed one with the help of the government at the Centre. As a soldier of the party, I along with my supporters will try to serve the people in the Bhubaneswar-North constituency.”